The power of the ‘net

I am following a discussion list thread on my favorite social networking site, Yelp. I think I’m addicted to this freaking site, but that is the topic for another blog entry. : )

Yelp has this feature called, “talk”. Anyone who is a Yelp member (free of course) can post topics for discussion, open to public viewing and response by other members. I love it. I have seen some random posts like, “what should I cook for dinner?”, “Things to say to the UPS man” or even a recent post, “I just got dumped via text message”. I find myself getting sucked into the most obscure topics of discussion. It fascinates me the power of the internet to facilitate such discussions and of course the key driver here is that folks aren’t “discussing” face-to-face.

As such, you can imagine there are many pretty risque conversations which develop….

A couple of weeks ago, a woman posted a talk entry titled, “Help find Bongo!! Please!!”. With your profile, you can include a picture and next to this woman’s entry displayed the most adorable fluffy white with black patches dog. Naturally, I had to read the thread.

Apparently this woman went on a trip to Florida. Her dog, Bongo, missing her so, went on a mission to find her. She learned that the dog had run away while away in Florida. Feeling helpless 3000 miles away, she posted on Yelp to request the assistance of other San Franciscan Yelpers to aid in her search. This posting triggered hundreds of Yelpers to respond, offer condolences, and promises to help find Bongo. I added my two cents: something along the lines of, “as a dog owner, my heart goes out to you… blah blah blah”.

I found myself continually searching for the thread to see if any new updates had emerged. It almost became an obsession. And I wasn’t alone, I started to see the same members writing in snippets of good thoughts and suggestions, “put up fliers at all of the dog parks”, “Bongo will be back, keep the faith”.

Although I’m sure Bongo’s mommy will not be content until Bongo is safe and sound at home, but I’m sure it must be a great feeling to continually receive such support.

The other day, I found a new feature on Yelp Talk!…. it’s a little check box for each topic enabling you to be emailed anytime a new entry is posted. Nice! So, I added checked the box for Bongo’s thread. Now I get the replies sent directly in my inbox.

Now, every time I get a message from Yelp re: “Help Find Bongo!!” I have to stop everything I’m doing to see if Bongo has been found. Obsessive ? A bit. But, come on, these days with technology and the internet changing the way people work and interact socially, any means toward a sense of community is a good thing in my opinion.

It’s been two weeks, so I’m sure either Bongo has a new home or he’s in doggy heaven, but I am still thinking positively for Bongo and his mommy.


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Twitter: sheilamia Email: sheila at sheilablogs.com
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April 2008
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